Thermal responsive building material for 3D printing

Recently, a group of researchers from institute of material research and engineering, Singapore, Wuhan university, China, University of technology, The Netherlands, soft matter rheology and technology, Belgium and the Chinese university of Hong Kong, Hong Kong have developed a novel building material using gelatin in cement material which can be used as cement paste in 3D printing machine. The best quality of this building material is its thermal response which means this material can be used to build a 3D printed house at lower temperature such as at 5°C.

Material development

The basic requirement of the building materials used for 3D printing of houses is that the building material must have certain rheological properties like buildability, pumpability and interfacial strength. In simple terms, the material is being used in 3D printing machine for house building must be of low viscosity so that it can easily flow through the nozzle of printer machine. Buildability means that the construction form must be stable and can bear the weight or stress of successive layers for longer period of time. The adhesion strength between the two layers also must be sufficient for the strength and stability of the construction.


Researchers have used hydrogel made of gelatin due to its cost effectiveness and marvelous thermal response behavior. The hydrogel of gelatin is mixed in different ratio in cement material to improve the property of building material. This newly developed cement paste offers very good flowability at room temperature. However, extrusion of paste at low temperature (at 5°C) improves loading capacity of the material due to cross linking of gelatin with cement material within 10 minutes. Another advantage of gelatin application is increase in hydration time of cement during the paste preparation and after pasting the loss of water from material is very slow which prevent micro cracks in constructions.

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